News / Africa

Sierra Leone Disputes Corruption Report

Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
Sierra Leone's incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma waves to supporters after voting in the capital, Freetown, November 17, 2012.
Peter Clottey
Sierra Leone’s government has rejected Transparency International’s latest Global Corruption Barometer report about the West African country.

The TI report said Sierra Leone had the highest incidences of bribery in sub-Saharan Africa. 

But Richard Konteh, President Ernest Bai Koroma’s chief of staff, says the TI corruption report demonstrates the anti-graft body’s misunderstanding of Sierra Leone’s cultural practices and norms.

“We turned to believe that the sampling was skewed,” said Konteh.    “In our culture, it is normal, if you want to get land from the paramount chief you go with what we call, kola.  You give the paramount chief the kola as a sign of respect, that is not bribery.  It is also part of our culture to show appreciation to people for good things that they’ve done to you, that is not bribery.”

In its report, Transparency International said 84% of respondents to its poll in Sierra Leone admitted to paying a bribe.

The government disputes the report as not being statistically representative, contending the sample size of 1,028 respondents in a population of about six-million people, the distribution of the sample population, and the sample frame was inadequate.

Konteh says Transparency International failed to take into account measures the Sierra Leone administration continues to implement to combat graft.

“The government has taken tremendous steps in the fight against corruption.  The president has outlined he will run a policy of zero tolerance of against corruption.  Anybody who is found guilty or indicted in his cabinet, he sacks,” said Konteh.  “We have given the Anti-Corruption Commission, the power to prosecute.  In the past, before they prosecute they had to go through the attorney general, [but] that is no longer a requirement.”

Konteh says TI’s report was insensitive to the government's continued graft fight and its efforts to attract foreign investments to improve the living conditions of Sierra Leone citizens.

“The MCC [Millennium Challenge Cooperation] commends Sierra Leone and that is why we have qualified for a contract with the American government.  They underscored government’s effort,” continued Konteh, “so a report like this coming at a time when we are busy trying to prepare for our MCC funding, will tend to distort the realities on the ground.”   

Transparency International interviewed 114,000 people in 107 countries and found more than half believe corruption and bribery has worsened in the past two years.

Robert Barrington, TI’s Executive director, was quoted as saying, “In terms of bribe paying, there are a couple of countries where three in four people say they have had to pay bribes in the past year.  That is Sierra Leone and Liberia.”

Meanwhile, trust in governments is also falling worldwide, according to Transparency International’s 2013 survey.
Clottey interview with Dr. Richard Konteh, presidential chief of staff
Clottey interview with Dr. Richard Konteh, presidential chief of staffi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs